A constantly running toilet, even one that occasionally flushes on its own, is typically a simple repair that can be as easy as cleaning or a toilet flush valve. Cleaning or replacing a toilet flush valve is something you can do on your own without spending a lot of time or money. Here’s what you’ll need to take on this project:
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Tongue & Groove Pliers
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Adj. or Socket Wrench
- Mini Hacksaw
- Valve Replacement Kit
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
Drain tank. Start by turning off the water at the stop valve. You’ll find this either coming out of the wall or your floor. Once the water’s off, flush the toilet, holding the handle down a few extra seconds to drain as much water as possible from the tank. Use a sponge to soak up any remaining water.
Clean valve. Clean the flapper and its seat with a sponge. When you’re down, run your finger inside it. If you feel any roughness, consider replacing the entire valve. If your flapper is smooth, turn the water back on. When the tank is full, flush the toilet. If the tank stops running, your job is done. If not, continue to step three.
Replace flapper. Turn off the water again, draining the tank and soaking up any remaining water with a sponge. Disconnect the flapper chain from the handle. Pull the flapper off the pegs on the overflow pipe. Sometimes the flapper will have a collar the fits over the pipe. Put the flapper in place and attach the chain or strap to the handle. Refill the tank. If the toilet still trickles, continue to step four.
Disconnect water supply. Turn off the water again. Drain the tank and sponge up any remaining water. Disconnect the water supply by removing the plastic coupling on the bottom of the tank. Use tongue and groove pliers if the coupling is too tight to turn by hand.
Remove tank. Remove the nuts from the two or three bolts attaching the tank to the bowl. Use the flat head screwdriver on the bolt heads to keep them from turning as you remove the nuts. On some toilets, the nut is recessed. In these cases, use a socket wrench to loosen them. Once you remove the tank, place it on its side.
Remove old flush valve. Remove the sponge gasket covering the plastic lock nut on the bottom of the tank. Remove the lock nut. Pull the refill tube, usually held in place by a clip, out of the overflow tube. Remove the flush valve from the tank and disconnect the chain from the handle lever.
Install new flush valve. Check to make sure the seal is in place on the new flush valve. Then put it through the hole in the bottom of the tank. The overflow tube should be at the 10 o’clock position when viewed from the front of the tank. Put the outside seal on the bottom of the valve and tighten it. Place the new sponge gasket over the lock nut. Attach the new flapper to the overflow tube and reattach the chain to the lever.
Reinstall tank. Place new rubber washers on the tank bolts. Lift the tank onto the bowl, dropping the bolts through the holes in the bowl. Hand-tighten new nuts onto the bolts. Then tighten with an adjustable wrench or socket wrench. Tighten just enough to prevent the tank from rocking, because over tightening could crack the porcelain. Reattach the water supply and turn on the water. Flush and check for leaks around the bottom of the tank.
Your repair is complete!